How Do I Get Child Support in Minnesota?

When you have a child, both parents are responsible for contributing to the child’s expenses, from basic expenses like food and medical care to more nuanced expenses like sports, school supplies, and clothing. In some cases, you and the child’s other parent may reach an equitable agreement regarding child support: one that allows you both to be part of the child’s life and contribute to their expenses appropriately. In other cases, however, you may struggle to get the support you need from the child’s other partner. How can you get child support in Minnesota?

Step One: Choose a Lawyer

Working with an attorney can, in many cases, give you a much better idea of what to expect as you pursue child support in Minnesota. An attorney can also help you fight with a former spouse or partner who is not willing to offer the payments your child deserves. When you work with an attorney, you can also rest assured that all of your forms are filled out correctly and that you’re ready for any arguments your former spouse might issue. The same attorney that handles your divorce can also help you move through the process of filing for child support.

Step Two: File Your Request

In Minnesota, you may work with the Department of Human Services to file a request for child support. The Department of Human Services automatically steps in if, for example, you and your child receive financial assistance from the state. You can also apply for either full-service or income-withholding services to help you move through the process of establishing a child support arrangement. In order to fill out the request fully, you may need to:

Establish parentage. This is particularly important if the other party–usually the father–claims not to be the parent of one or more of the children in question. You may need to use a paternity test to help establish parentage.

Evaluate your income and the other parent’s income. In many cases, child support is based on the amount both parents make. If one parent makes substantially more than the other, for example, they may be responsible for contributing to a larger percentage of the child’s care.

Determine custody and visitation. If one parent has primary custody of the child, while the other parent spends a relatively minimal amount of time with the child, it may change the balance of child support.

Consider other children in the home. If you have other children living in your home who are not shared with the other parent, they may also change the balance of child support. Minnesota law drops the custodial parent’s gross income due to other children in the home.

Indicate how you wish to receive payment. If your child’s other parent often fails to pay on time or you do not wish to communicate with them, you may have the courts automatically withhold payment from their checks, then pass it on to you.

In addition to a traditional request for child support, which establishes ongoing payments based on the other parent’s income, you can file for payment of shared medical expenses or other expenses related to the child that have gone unpaid. In some cases, unexpectedly large medical bills may not receive immediate payment from the other parent–or they might even fight that payment. Filing a request for payment creates a legal paper trail and can get those funds in your hands sooner.

Are you struggling with child custody, visitation, or child support in Minnesota? Do you need to file for divorce? If you need legal help with child custody or child support arrangements, contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and how we can streamline the process of getting child support in your hands.